The Christmas Tree Bandit

by Kimberly

It was Christmas Eve on the streets of L.A.
Pete and Jim were tired; they'd had a long day.

The rookie cop smiled as he stated with glee,
"Jean wrapped all the gifts, there's plenty for me."

Before Pete could open his mouth in reply,
Dispatch directed, "See the Christmas tree guy."

"That's Tommy the Tattler or Sammy the Snitch.
They're both good informers, it won't matter which."

Pete stopped the cruiser at the Christmas tree lot.
He rolled down his window and said, "Whadda ya got?"

Sammy the Snitch leaned in with a sneer,
"The bandit strikes at midnight, not too far from here."

"The Christmas tree bandit?" Pete asked to confirm.
This made Sammy nervous and he started to squirm.

"Yeah, that's him, and he's nabbin' a tree.
That's the word on the street. But, you didn't hear it from me.

"Just south of here, about two blocks down.
A house on the corner, near the edge of town."

As Pete turned the car to make the short trip
He called out to Sammy, "Hey, thanks for the tip."

"11:45," Jim made a check of the time.
"Let's stake out the joint and wait for the crime."

At twelve bells exactly the bandit was seen -
A scrawny little elf, who didn't look very mean.

He entered the house and went straight to his work.
He came out with the tree. He was wearing a smirk.

"Freeze, sneaky bandit!" Pete called in the night.
"You're taking their tree and that just isn't right.

"Stop where you are. Lay your loot on the ground.
Step away from the tree and don't make a sound.

"Taking trees is bad. It makes children cry.
Why do you do it? Oh why, bandit, why?"

The bandit looked up and said with a sigh,
"My reasons are sad, but I'll tell you why.

"My childhood was filled with much sorrow and woe.
I walked to school uphill backwards, five miles in the snow.

"While others drank eggnog and wassail, and wore their warm coats,
My mother served toothpicks in water and called them 'Pine Floats'.

"My tale is a tragedy, from beginning to end.
I've never had anyone call me his friend.

"A Christmas tree's a luxury that I've never had.
We hung lights from his arms to decorate my Dad.

"I've been so miserable. Now, do you see?
I just couldn't let others have a Christmas tree.

"I vowed to steal Christmas from everyone I knew.
I stole my first tree, and then my crime grew."

Jim held up a hand to silence the crook.
He shook his head and gave him a look.

"Making others suffer is no way to be.
You're under arrest. Now, put back the tree."

"I knew my crime spree would come to an end
And still I have no one who'll call me his friend."

Pete stared at the Bandit then gave him a smile
"You're going to jail, but just for a while.

"When you get out, why not change your ways?
You know the old story 'crime never pays'.

"Start over fresh and spread lots of cheer
Not just at Christmas, but all through the year."

The bandit's heart leaped inside of his chest.
It was then that he realized his way wasn't best.

"I'll do it," he said. "I've caused too much grief.
When I get out of jail, I'll turn over a new leaf."

"That's a good decision," Jim said with a grin.
"But stealing is stealing and we must take you in."

"I know," The bandit answered. "It's your job to do.
But when I get out, I'll start fresh and new.

"I'm sorry for stealing. I know it's not right
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night."

Holiday Duty